Making A Business Case
Indicator 1 of Chapter B10 of the UK Quality Code: Managing HE Provision with Others states that ‘Appropriate levels of resources (including staff) should be committed to collaborative activities ‘to ensure that the necessary oversight is sustained.’
Before Colleges commit themselves to developing and maintaining a collaborative arrangement they need to be sure that they can commit the necessary staff and other resources at both College and operational levels to the initial investigation, negotiation, approval, development of the proposal and, once approved, the implementation and ongoing oversight and monitoring of the collaboration.
At University level there is a need to ensure that there is sufficient staff expertise in the assurance of academic standards and quality, the necessary financial, legal and management skills, and relevant academic and cultural knowledge and experience. The level of oversight and administrative capacity required will depend on several factors, including the type of activity, the numbers of partners involved in the delivery of the learning, and the proposed partners’ geographical distance from Swansea University. From an institutional point of view it is crucial that partnerships are managed by efficient processes, as well as individuals. This means simply that there needs to be sufficient institutional oversight of, and engagement with, any potential collaborative activity. However, it is crucial that all types of collaborative activity are owned by, and embedded within, the academic Colleges and central administration and not reliant on individual members of staff to drive and manage the particular collaborative activity.
One of the first things required to do when considering whether to set up any type of collaborative activity is to develop a business case detailing how much the collaborative arrangement is likely to cost and how the appropriate level of resources, including College staff and central administrative resources, will be committed to the proposal. Issues to be addressed when developing any collaborative activity include the following:
- Why are you doing this?
- Is it part of the University’s mission statement and reflected in the strategic plan?
- Is it part of the College’s approved business plan?
- Are there necessary resources to support the commissioning, development, approval and ongoing oversight of the activity?
You will also need to provide a sense of the likely volume of the activity, including potential student numbers and remember to factor in the development costs as well as the ongoing continuation costs.